Hiking Roan Mountain

I don’t want to lie to you.

I get a lot of my hiking inspiration from Instagram.

In fact, I think it’s Instagram that got me so interested in documenting my adventures. I noticed friends seemed to enjoy seeing what I’ve been up to, so I’ve been trying to build a following. It also has sparked a small interest in photography, although I will never consider myself a photographer. I have too many friends that are actual and very talented photographers, and I respect the hard work they have put into their passion.

But I digress.

Roan Mountain came to my attention over a year ago, when Hayley and I were planning our road trip to Delaware. Due to circumstances out of our control, we had to skip that part of the plan and I had to put the hike on the back burner.

A few months ago, Lex and I had two days off in a row together, and I mentioned finally checking it out. She agreed, and we headed out to Johnson City (think Wagon Wheel!)

We arrived after dark and found a hotel bar we wanted to eat at. Of course, there was a drunk man that began to hit on us and show us inappropriate pictures, but he soon disappeared and we were able to enjoy our meal in peace.

Not ones to have a room ready before our adventures, we found a cheap hotel to stay in for the night. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying attention, hit a curb, and got a flat tire on the way there. Fortunately, it was turning in to the hotel parking lot. So we left it to deal with in the morning.

The next day we (read: Alexa) fixed the tire (I took the videos) and we headed out to find coffee before going to hike.

We drove to Carvers Gap and parked the car. It was January and we were on top of a mountain, so it was very cold and windy.

I don’t think I have any pictures with another state sign!

So. We were confused. From the parking lot you could go two different ways on the Appalachian Trail, and the Instagram pictures I saw were on Roan Mountain. It didn’t occur to me that the whole area was Roan Mountain.

The pictures were taken on the three balds.

The opposite direction from where we started heading on the trail.

It LOOKS cold, no?

So we kept walking.


We made it to the site of the old Cloudland Hotel, which was pretty cool, but still not what we were looking for. There’s actually a parking lot there, and we felt silly that we could’ve just parked. Until we realized the road was closed anyway.


It was not a bad view!

We continued on the way we were, but as we descended we realized we were not going the way we thought we were.

After doubling back to the Cloudland Hotel site, we decided to take the paved road back to the car, just to switch things up a bit.


Back at the car we warmed up a bit before heading up to the balds. The opposite way from where we had been.

This was a very quick hike up, and the views were every bit as spectacular as we had been imagining.

Taking it all in.

We had been out in the cold a long time, though, and our little warm up in the car seemed to have zapped all of our energy, so we decided it was time to head back home.

As per usual, we stopped at a local brewery, this time it is was Yee Haw Brewing, to eat and post our pictures while enjoying a cold beer. Then it was time to head back to Nashville.

We may have gone the wrong way initially, but it’s things like that that make you appreciate the journey before getting to your destination.

So it didn’t go as planned. It’s all a part of the adventure!



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